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Achieving Realism with High-Quality Assets

Learn to Achieve Realism with Cinema 4D.

In this tutorial, we're going to look at the high-quality assets available for you to use. You'll learn:

  • How to find high-quality assets
  • How to find 3D scanned displacement textures and characters
  • How to make the most out of Megascans
  • To discover the joy of PBR materials

Follow Along for Tips on How to Achieve Realism with High-Quality Assets

In addition to the video, we've created a custom PDF with these tips so you never have to search for answers. Download the free file below so you can follow along, and for your future reference.

Grab the free PDF on high-quality assets from around the web

How to find high-quality assets

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A really important aspect of creating high-quality renders is starting from a solid foundation with high-quality assets. This may sound obvious, but I’ve seen so many renders with low resolution textures or low-poly assets when the render isn’t intended to look like that low-poly style.

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If we search for a whale on Turbosquid, we get the above results, ranging from extremely low quality whales all the way through to ones with amazing UV maps and 8K textures, as well as animation sources baked in.

On a paid job, it’s often possible to put a hero asset like this as a line item in the budget. I’m using this whale example because I did this on a project called Immortalys, and the client paid for this model. It actually saved him money, because if I had to go in and animate these whales, and hire someone to model them, it would’ve cost 5-10 times as much.

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One of my favorite sites for high-quality models is Kitbash3D. It can be a lot more cost effective to buy assets in packs rather than a la carte. When you buy a pack like this, you get a set of buildings or cars that have a consistent design language, so that saves you from having to scour the internet for a set of models that feel like they belong in the same world.

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These packs feel internally consistent right out of the gate. Another huge plus here too is that you can select your render engine before you download, and that saves you from having to load the maps and reconnect textures, so the ease of use is extremely high as well.

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How to find 3D displacement textures and characters

Another favorite of mine is Real Displacement Textures, and Christoph Schindelar who runs this site is amazing at creating the highest quality 3D scans out in nature, and then converting them into displacement maps. For photorealistic grounds and rock walls—and just nature scenes in general—these are a must-have. Similar to Kitbash3D, these all come with premade Octane setups.

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For characters, nothing beats 3D Scan Store. Every character has been meticulously scanned in and cleaned up, with all the necessary maps created that help them look photoreal. Another great option is AXYZ Design, and they’ve got people with thousands of poses and different outfits for whatever you’d need.

How to make the most out of Megascans

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Next, let’s look at Megascans. At this point, I’m sure you’re noticing a trend that oftentimes the highest quality assets are those that have been 3D scanned. They’re literally pulled in from reality with all the existing uniqueness and imperfections. I love Megascans because you get a lot of bang for your buck. $20 per month gets you tons of credits which include awesome surfaces and 3D scans.

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The import process is insanely easy too. If you download Megascans Bridge, then once you download an asset, you can just hit the Export button and it will seamlessly import into C4D. And if you’ve got Octane selected as the renderer, all the textures will already be setup for Octane.

Discover the joy of PBR materials

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Finally, let’s talk about PBR materials, which stand Physically Based Rendering materials. These are essentially what we were looking at earlier, meaning rather than just going with materials that only have a diffuse map—or maybe a roughness map too—they have everything from a normal to a specular to a displacement map.

They’re set up to look the highest quality and be the most realistic. Poliigon is my go-to site for these materials, but there’s also an amazing site called CC0 Textures that’s totally free.

Wrap up

Unless you're setting out to create something in a low-poly style, having high-quality assets provides you the best foundation for a solid render. While I've recommended a number of great sites that have worked for me, I also recommend reaching out to artists whose work you've enjoyed to see where they found their assets. Then get to creating!

Want more guidance on how to render better?

If you're ready to step into the next level of 3D design, we've got a course that's just right for you. Introducing Lights, Camera, Render, an in-depth advanced Cinema 4D course from David Ariew.

This course will teach you all of the invaluable skills that make up the core of cinematography, helping to propel your career to the next level. You’ll not only learn how to create a high-end professional render every time by mastering cinematic concepts, but you’ll be introduced to valuable assets, tools, and best practices that are critical to creating stunning work that will wow your clients!

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Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

David Ariew (00:00): Starting with high-quality assets provides the right foundation for a high quality render. I mean, you wouldn't top fillet mignon with cheese whiz. Although if you want, I've got some recipes,

David Ariew (00:16): Hey, what's up, I'm David Ariew and I'm a 3d motion designer and educator, and I'm going to help you make your renders better. In this video, you'll learn how to find high quality assets on sites like turbo, squid, and kabash 3d find 3d scan, displacement, textures, and characters. Get free 3d scanned objects, make the most out of mega skins and discover the joy of PBR materials. If you want more ideas to improve your renders, make sure to grab our PDF of 10 tips in the description. Now let's get started. Another really important aspect of creating high quality renders is starting from a solid foundation with high quality assets. This may sound like an obvious one in theory, but in practice I've seen so many renders with low resolution textures or obvious low poly assets. When the render isn't intended to look like that low poly style.

David Ariew (01:01): For instance, if we search for a whale on turbo squid, we get these results ranging from extremely low quality whales, all the way through to ones with amazing UV maps and AK textures, as well as animation sources baked in. I'm not saying that you'll have the cash for this, especially when you're just starting out, but on a paid job, it's often possible to put a hero asset like this as a line item in the budget. I'm using this whale example because I did this on my project here called immortality and the client paid for this model and it actually saved him money because if I had to go in and animate these whales and hire someone to model them, it would've cost five to 10 times as much. One of my favorite sites for high quality models is kitbashed 3d, especially because there's so much cheaper than handpicking individual models on turbo squid.

David Ariew (01:42): And when you buy a pack like this, you've got a set of buildings or cars or whatever it is that have a consistent design language. So that saves you from having to scour the internet for a set of models that feel like they belong in the same world. These just do feel internally consistent right out of the gate. Take a look at the detail in this aftermath kit, for instance, and how much love has been put into the modeling and the texturing. Another huge plus here too, is that you can select your render engine before you download. And that saves you from having to load the maps and reconnect textures. So the ease of use is extremely high as well. Another favorite of mine is real displacement textures and Kristofferson LAR who runs this site is amazing at creating the highest quality 3d scans out there, and then converting them into displacement maps for photo realistic grounds and rock walls, and just nature scenes in general.

David Ariew (02:28): These are a must have and similar to kitbashed 3d. These all come with pre-made octane setups for characters, nothing beats 3d scan store, where all the people have been meticulously scanned in and cleaned up with all the necessary maps created to help them look photo real. Another great one is XYZ design, and they've got people with thousands of poses and different outfits for whatever you'd need, also extremely high quality stuff. And one amazing free site for super high quality 3d scans is called 3d scans.com. Next let's look at mega scans. And at this point, I'm sure you're noticing a that oftentimes the highest quality assets are those that have been 3d scanned in because they're literally pulled in from reality with all the existing uniqueness and imperfections intact. I love mega scans too, because it's pretty cheap for what you get $20 per month gets you tons of credits, which include awesome surfaces and 3d scans.

David Ariew (03:15): The export process is insanely easy too. If you download mega scans bridge, also known as quick sell bridge, then once you download an asset, you can just hit the export button here and it'll seamlessly import into cinema 40. And if you've got octane or Redshift or whatever render or you're using selected here, as the renderer, all the textures will already be set up for that render here in octane. It comes in as a universal shader. And the only thing you'll probably have to adjust is bringing down this metallic slider to zero to make sure that it's accurate. You can also select from various levels of detail. So for instance, here, LOD zero is often enough to get the job done once the normal map is connected, but if you want to go crazy on the details, so you can also select high poly and then the source scam will come in, which just has an insane amount of information in it.

David Ariew (03:57): Finally, let's talk about PBR materials, which just stands for Pabst blue ribbon materials. I mean physically based rendering materials. These are essentially what we were looking at earlier, meaning that rather than going with materials that only have a diffuse map or maybe have a roughness map too, they have everything from a normal map to a specular, to a displacement map. They're set up to look the highest quality and be the most realistic polygon is my go-to site for these materials. But there's also an amazing site called CCO textures. That's totally free. And if we look at the cyberpunk city that I textured from scratch, believe it or not about 90% of these textures are from CCO with the remaining 10% as roughness maps from my buddy, Travis David's. So this is a really great way to make sure you're sticking to a workflow that supports federalism.

David Ariew (04:38): One last note here, even the most detailed AK textures can appear low resolution in your materials. If they're improperly scaled, for instance, here, we've got an AK texture scaled way too high that clearly isn't working for the scene. So let's scale it down. And here we've got a two K texture that is working because it's already scaled down. So low resolution. Isn't exactly a fixed thing in 3d. It depends on how close you are to an object and how many times you're tiling those textures. So often you can get away with lower resolution textures without seeing pixelation by keeping these tips in mind. You'll be well on your way to consistently creating awesome renders. If you want to learn more ways to improve your renders, make sure to subscribe to this channel, hit the bell icon. So you'll be notified when we drop the next tip.